Sunday, January 26

Not my favourite gardening task!

Regular readers will know that I was let off pruning our vicious blackberry this year as the bed it is growing it was subjected to a complete renovation.

Unfortunately this hasn't spared me from scratches completely as I had to tackle another prickly customer - namely the tayberry. 

I usually leave this job until the leaves fall off. In November the leaves were still hanging on!
The leaves disappeared in December after which time it was a case of the time being right for me to tackle the beast. As you can see from the photo below the area around the base of the tayberry becomes very overgrown. It's not really pleasant pulling weeds out from between vicious thorny canes.
Mid January the conditions for tackling the tayberry were right. Leaves had fallen and last Sunday was a reasonable day for carrying out a task that involved being in one place for a period of time. Martyn said he would cover one of the beds that was still free of weed control fabric whilst I sorted my tayberry. Note it becomes my tayberry when it needs pruning!

I was faced with this.
The tayberry is pruned in the same way as a blackberry. The first task is to put on gloves and make sure as much flesh as possible is covered. Once kitted out for battle, the first job is to remove any old canes that had fruited last year. Identifying these isn't a problem as the old canes are brown (as shown in Cane 1 - below) rather than having a reddish (Cane 2) or green (Cane 3) tint. 
Old canes also have side branches (as shown highlighted below) where last year's fruit was produced, whereas the new cane are branchless not yet having produced the fruiting 'spurs'.
Once the old canes had been removed the remaining canes needed to be thinned out by first removing any thin spindly growth. More canes were then removed so that canes weren't too close together, crossing or rubbing up against a neighbour. Actually I think I need to remove one of the canes shown below on the left of the clump.
The remaining canes were then wrestled with and tied into position. I bent the top of the long canes over  and tied them down to the wire. I didn't want any canes whipping around in the wind and making the most of the opportunity to scratch faces or other tender areas. Bringing the ends down is also supposed to encourage better fruiting and also keeps the berries within easy (if picking fruit from anything with such vicious thorns is ever easy) picking distance.

Now we need to tidy up around the base on the clumps - more weed control fabric!


21 comments:

  1. Lovely post Sue I never grown a tayberry I will have to have a look for one along with a new Blackberry as the cuttings I took from my mum's old garden have not taken as Yet

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    1. Can I recommend a thornless blackberry, Linda. We have Loch Ness. You still get the fruit but less pain!

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  2. Drat, you have reminded me I was supposed to be pruning the raspberries, blackberry, tayberry & loganberry. Of out to do it now @15:50. Thankfully my tayberry is no way near the size of your monster.

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    1. I hope you survived with few scratches, Jo. I still have to cut down the autumn raspberries but often the new canes are beginning to shoot before I cut back the old ones!

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  3. Well, you may not have enoyed the task, but you made a very neat job of it. I can see why Matryn lets you do it! Hope you didn't lose too much blood.

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    1. So maybe I should make a mess of it next time, Mark then I may get the sack!

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  4. Very clear and useful instructions Sue.

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  5. It will be worth all of the blood and pain, they're delicious. Mine tended to wave around a bit freely last year, there were a few nasty scratches and snagged clothes.

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    1. Another tip is not to wear anything knitted when 'pruning' prickly canes as the thorns will tear knitwear into holes.
      I wear jeans and an old fleece.

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  6. Well, that's one job I don't envy! Eeeek!!! Love the fact it becomes yours....that made me laugh. Wow, what a fab job you have done! I'm hopeless when it comes to pruning fruit bushes....I shall have to hope you help educate me!!!xxx

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    1. If the cut down blackberry recovers, next year that will become mine too, Snowbird.

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  7. Really sharp thorns, it's really not suitable for my little garden.

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    1. Fortunately ours is on the plot and not on the garden, Endah.

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  8. Thorns - nature's fruit tax! Really clear explanation of how to prune your prickly monster Sue. I just lost my planned extra fruit bed to boat storage :-(

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    1. Oh dear - can you grow pots of fruit in the boat? :)

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  9. Job well done Sue...Is it still 'your' tayberry when it starts to fruit or is Martyn happy to share that burden?? lol

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    1. IT sort of becomes 'the' tayberry then Tanya.

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  10. Excellent pruning work! Hope you will harvest handful of the berries !

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